It all started 38 years ago. Back then, the area now known as Miami’s hipster haven Wynwood was gritty and purely commercial, filled with factories. That’s when Jamaican Pearline Murray opened Clive’s, a diner that fortified those hungry factory workers with a hearty and inexpensive Jamaican breakfast and lunch.
For almost four decades Pearline and her sister Joan Chin churned out heaping plates of classic island fare: ackee and saltfish, curry goat, cow foot, and bestsellers oxtail and jerk chicken. And even if it wasn’t the festive season, you could always rely on them to have sorrel, the classic Jamaican Christmas drink, on the menu.
They kept serving as the factories closed and the trendy restaurants, boutiques and high-rise condos moved in, their humble island outpost sticking out like a sore thumb in this newly gentrified quarter of the city.
Two weeks ago, forced out by a rent increase, Clive’s moved five minutes away, to the same kind of gritty neighborhood in which it first opened.
Now in Lemon City (on the border of Little Haiti), the diner still serves up a steady stream of the fare that, with a mere whiff or a single sip, makes Jamaicans long for home and visitors fondly recall their irie island getaway.
The new premises are Spartan and unpretentious, furnished with little more than a few tables and chairs and a pair of flat-screen TVs blaring the latest installment of Jerry Springer.
But the steady stream of customers (who’ve followed Clive’s to what was its second store and is now its only outlet) don’t seem to mind. Times and the neighborhood may have changed, but one thing remains the same: At Clive’s, it’s all about the food.
And it’s still the only place to enjoy Ms Pearline’s homemade sorrel all year round.